Corporate Social Responsibility

Managing Air Emissions

Emissions Reporting

Williams understands our responsibility to reduce our own carbon footprint and consistently monitor and report our emissions. Criteria emissions (NOx, CO, VOCs, PM, SO2) from our facilities are tracked and reported annually to state and federal regulatory agencies using mandated protocols, testing methods, and calculation methodologies.

 

We prepare and submit an annual greenhouse gas inventory to the Environmental Protection Agency for our midstream gathering, natural gas processing and interstate transmission and storage operations. Combusted, vented and fugitive greenhouse gas emissions are tracked and reported to EPA using prescribed methodologies.

 

Over the past five years, we have reduced our methane emissions from gas processing plants and transmission compressor stations by more than 50 percent. Over the same period, the throughput through these facilities increased 20 percent.

Reducing Emissions

Williams fully recognizes the importance of emissions reductions. We achieve emissions reductions at our pipelines and facilities by exploring, understanding and acting upon opportunities driven by energy efficiencies, best operational practices and regulatory compliance.

 

We install new engines, turbines and other internal and external combustion equipment across the enterprise to expand operations and improve operational performance and efficiency. Our strategy to connect the best supplies to the best markets means natural gas is traveling shorter distances to get to market, resulting in fewer emissions.

 

We implement specific operational measures at our assets to reduce emissions, where technically and economically feasible. These best management practices include:

  • Conducting leak detection and repair events
  • Replacing compressor rod packing
  • Replacing wet seal compressors with dry seal compressors
  • Improving system reliability to minimize blowdowns
  • Installing electric motors on compressors and glycol circulation pumps
  • Installing flares and thermal oxidizers to control emissions from equipment

 

We also engage in collaborative studies with industry peers, government agencies and university partners to better understand and reduce air emissions. During the past several years, we have participated in an Environmental Defense Fund – Colorado State University study to produce data on actual methane emissions. This understanding will allow for more accurate and reasonable methane emissions reduction targets in the future.

 

Finally, we have established and are currently meeting a 2018 target to reduce the number of environmental reportable releases by 15 percent from 2017 levels. These releases include unintended blowdowns resulting from system upsets.

Climate Change

Climate change regulations and the costs associated with the regulation of emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) have the potential to affect our business. Regulatory actions by the Environmental Protection Agency or the passage of new climate change laws or regulations could result in increased costs to operate and maintain our facilities, install new emission controls on our facilities, or administer and manage our GHG compliance program.

 

If we are unable to recover or pass through a significant level of our costs related to complying with climate change regulatory requirements imposed on us, it could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition. To the extent financial markets view climate change and GHG emissions as a financial risk, this could negatively impact our cost of and access to capital. Climate change and GHG regulation could also reduce demand for our services.

 

Case Study: Transco Emissions Reduction Program

On August 31, 2018, Williams’ Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC (Transco) submitted a proposal for a drastic voluntary air emissions reduction program to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), in order to minimize our impact on local air quality and lessen our carbon footprint. Transco is a 10,200-mile interstate transmission pipeline system, extending from South Texas to New York City. The Transco pipeline system is a major provider of natural gas to the northeastern and southeastern states. Compressor stations help move gas from the Gulf Coast to 12 Southeast and Atlantic Seaboard states, including major metropolitan areas in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

 

The Transco Emissions Reduction Program will significantly reduce key air pollutants, particularly nitrogen oxides (“NOX”) and methane, emitted from Transco’s compressor stations along the length of the Transco pipeline system. Over a five year period, Transco plans to replace approximately 138 older natural gas driven compressor units with gas turbine driven compressor units or electric motor driven compressor units of equivalent horsepower. The new gas-driven turbines will be outfitted with state of the art, low NOX combustion emission control technology.

 

Transco estimates that the Emissions Reduction Program will reduce NOX emissions by at least 72 percent system-wide. We also anticipate a 55 percent reduction in methane emissions from the compressor units. For more detailed information regarding Transco’s proposed Emission Reduction Program, see FERC Docket RP18-1126, Statement P – Mark Gebbia (Exhibit No. T-64).

Emissions Performance Data

Explore our detailed emissions and environment-related reporting information on our Performance Data Table.

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Air Emission Program

As an industry leader touching more than 30 percent of the nation’s natural gas, we focus on minimizing our environmental footprint as we satisfy the demand for natural gas to heat homes and generate electricity. We are committed to meeting or exceeding all applicable federal, state and local air emissions requirements. Beyond full regulatory compliance, we support effective, voluntary programs to reduce emissions.

 

We are a member of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA), which in August 2018 announced its commitment to continuously improve practices to minimize methane emissions from interstate natural gas transmission and storage operations. These practices include: selecting air driven, low-bleed or intermittent pneumatic controllers; replacing compressor rod packing at 26,000 hours/three years or when conditioned-based indicators dictate; and conducting leak surveys of all transmission compressor stations.

 

We have also been a member of EPA’s Natural Gas STAR Program since its founding in 1993. The program is a voluntary partnership that encourages oil and natural gas companies to adopt cost-effective technologies and practices that improve operational efficiency and reduce emissions of methane. As a Natural Gas STAR member, we have successfully implemented and reported pressure reduction measures taken to lower gas line pressure before pipeline maintenance. These pressure reductions reduce methane emissions and make more gas available for sale.

Policies & Standards

For a full list, please visit our Policies & Standards page.